a. All cigarettes, subject to the tax imposed by this act, to which stamps have not
been affixed, as required by this act, and all cigarettes stamped in violation of
subsection b. of section 405 of P.L.1948, c. 65 (C.54:40A-15) found in any place in this State are declared to be prima facie contraband goods
and may be seized by the director, the director's agents or employees, or by any peace
officer of this State, when directed by the director so to do, without a warrant.
b. The director may upon satisfactory proof direct the return of any unstamped confiscated
cigarettes when the director shall have reason to believe that the owner thereof has
not willfully or intentionally evaded any tax imposed by this act. Any purchaser of such cigarettes shall be required to affix stamps as required by
c. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the director shall destroy any seized unstamped cigarettes or cigarettes that have been stamped in violation of subsection b. of section 405 of
P.L.1948, c. 65 (C.54:40A-15). The director may, prior to the destruction of such cigarettes, permit the true holder
of the trademark rights in the cigarette brand to inspect the cigarettes, in order
to assist the director in any investigation regarding such cigarettes.
(2) As an alternative to destruction, the director may resell such cigarettes to the manufacturer of those cigarettes, but such cigarettes shall be resold only for export or destruction.
(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection, the director
may authorize the use for law enforcement purposes of cigarettes forfeited in accordance
with this section.
d. The seizure and sale of any unstamped or illegally stamped cigarettes or any other contraband cigarettes under the provisions of this section shall not relieve any person from a fine, imprisonment
or other penalty for violation of any of the provisions of this act. The director, the director's agents, employees, and any peace officer of this State,
when directed so to do, shall not in any way be responsible in any court for the seizure
or the confiscation of any unstamped or illegally stamped packages of cigarettes or any other contraband cigarettes.
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